If you don’t succeed with a frontal attack, try a flanking maneuver. That seems to be the theory of the World Health Organization (WHO), anyway. Having not made a lot of ground on their efforts to institute an international tax on cigarettes, it appears that their next strategy will be to get everyone to forbid the tobacco industry from advertising. Anywhere. Even on their own product packaging.

WHO calls for total ban on tobacco advertising

MANILA, May 30 (Xinhua) — The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for a comprehensive ban on all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, saying that the tobacco companies’ ” aggressive marketing” has led to addiction killing at least 6 million people worldwide each year.

In a statement issued Thursday, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific Dr. Shin Young-soo cited the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control as saying governments around the world “must comprehensively ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.”

As the title of this column indicates, this effort has apparently already found some sympathetic ears across the pond. Ireland – an otherwise frequently sensible nation – seems ready to squat down on the free market kick some butts. (pun intended)

All trademarks, logos, colours and graphics will be removed from tobacco products sold in Ireland under the new rules, the health ministry said, after the proposal secured backing from the government.

Dr James Reilly, the country’s health minister, said while many arguments will be made against the move, he is confident the legislation will be justified and supported purely by the fact that it will save lives.

All we need is a few more people like the Deplorable Nanny State Mayor here in the United States, and you too can enjoy the benefits of these policies. But you’ll notice one thing they have in common. They’re still not trying to outlaw the products or say that adults can’t buy them. They’re just taking off the labeling and stopping them from promoting their products anywhere. None of this makes a pack of smokes less available, but simply stops the various manufacturers from competing effectively against each other in the same market space.

This “feel good” style of legislation obviously gives nanny state activists reason to cheer, pat themselves on the back and justify all the money they raise and spend, but it has no substantive effect beyond that. And what of the companies who are marketing products with lower levels of tar and other problematic components to reduce health risks? Might you not want them to have a fair shot at promoting their alternative products? Apparently not. But then again, that’s not what this has been about all along.

Meanwhile, in other nanny state smoking news, Minnesota already passed a new cigarette tax, with California and Massachusetts considering the same. That should really boost their revenue, eh? As we’ve tried to tell them here over and over, not so much.

Pew States: Cigarette Smuggling Cuts States’ Per-Pack Tax Revenues

In 2010, states with high tobacco taxes lost about $5 billion in revenue because of cigarette smuggling, according to the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives. Experts say the number is climbing.

Most of the black market in cigarettes is between low-tax states and high-tax states: Smugglers purchase cigarettes in a low-tax state and transport them to a high-tax state. Then they sell them at a discount to smokers while still pocketing a healthy profit. Because there is such a wide disparity among states’ cigarette taxes, the price differential is well worth the risk of smuggling, according to law enforcement officials.

But hey… don’t listen to us. You just keep right on plucking that chicken, folks.